Merlot is a 5 month old Welsh section B colt – isn’t he cute?!

One morning recently Merlot’s breeder noticed that Merlot didn’t appear to be drinking from his mother, and on a closer look noticed that the right side of his lip appeared to be drooping.
Merlot is suffering from damage to one of the nerves of is face, the facial nerve. The injury can be caused by trauma to the side of the face from trauma to the head, general anaesthesia or a tight halter. Damage to the facial nerve may result in a drooping ear, loss of ability to blink and drooping of the lips and muscles on the affected side of the face. Fortunately only the buccal (lower) branches have been affected so his ear and eye appear unaffected.

Example of where the facial nerve is located.

Example of where the facial nerve is located.

In Merlot’s case on a walk around the paddock a partially latched gate was found, together with evidence that he had tried to poke his head through to the other side of the gate (well they say the grass is greener there!), and most likely had his head temporarily stuck between the gatepost and the gate leading to the damage.

It is likely the nerve has only been bruised, so there is a reasonable chance that Merlot will regain function. For minor bruising function may start to return in 14 days, but for more severe damage it may take 6-12 months, and it is possible full function may not return.

Whilst we wait to see if function will return in the short term he is receiving a course of anti-inflammatories and extra supplementary feed.

We will provide updates on his progress!